Greensboro to invite developers, property owners on a downtown design overlay tour

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Urban designer Elizabeth Link can pick out how each building downtown fits in to the area's overall feel.

From first floor patios to large windows and lighting, Link says they're all part of the city's design overlay which are guidelines for new buildings or renovations downtown.

"We like brick, stone, heavy duty things,” Link said.

The goal is for new development to blend in with the historic look and vibe downtown with many of the buildings built in the late 19th century.

“Every building shares a wall with a next building so when you build in downtown, it's not just your little piece of property,” Link said. “You're affecting everyone around you.”

Next week, the city will invite developers, property owners and others on a downtown design overlay tour, to see examples of how city officials want things built.

“Big windows, open store fronts, windows that you can see through,” said Jodee Ruppel with Downtown Greensboro Incorporated.

Ruppel says developers and property owners need to know what works and what doesn't.

“We want to make sure that we keep our character,” Ruppel said. “We want to keep our heart and our vibe. What makes Greensboro so cool.”

Ruppel says the tour couldn't come at a better time with lots of businesses opening downtown, including 34 last year.

“Building permits and renovation permits went up by almost 52 percent from the year before,” Ruppel said.

Link says their overall goal is to make downtown more inviting.

“We want to make it pleasant to walk downtown,” Link said.

The design overlay tour will take place on June 2nd.